Senior Perspective Course

SRP, ENG , PHL 435:




Emphasizing critical approaches to the analysis of human ways of making a living, this course examines the representation economic phenomena in selected literary and philosophical texts from antiquity to the present. Giving special attention to representations of commercial life, the course undertakes a characterization of its underlying social forms as well as the specification of how these ethically consequential forms tie in with problems of poverty, unequal distributions of wealth and income, overconsumption, depletion of natural resources, conflict and social instability.

Required Materials

Texts (available at University Bookstore)

Patrick Murray, ed., Reflections on Commercial Life: An Anthology of Classic Texts from Plato to the Present (Routledge) ISBN 0-415-91196-6

Charles Dickens, Hard Times (W.W. Norton/Norton Critical Edition), ISBN 0-393-95900-7

John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath (Penguin/Viking Critical Library), ISBN 0-14-024775-0

SRP 435 Course Pack (containing a variety of readings not included in the anthology) (notice this is a custom-made course pack including readings from various authors and sources -- it is expensive because of the copyrights involved and the fees required by the copyright holders, the company that produces the pack, and the bookstore-- the instructor does NOT receive any part of the purchase price)

Films (on Reseve for 4-hour and overnight checkout at the Reinert Alumni Library -- may also be purchased or rented from commercial outlets at the student's choice)

A Beautiful Mind (2001), dir. Ron Howard, starring Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly, based on Sylvia Nassar's biography of John Forbes Nash (Reinert Library Media Collection #4022)

Wall Street (1987), dir. Oliver Stone, starring Michael Douglas & Charlie Sheen (Reinert Library Media Collection #3626).

The Matrix (1999), dir. Andy & Larry Wachowski, starring Keanu Reeves & Carrie-Anne Moss (Reinert Library Media Collection #3629).



U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

World Bank, Global Poverty Monitoring

U.S. Census Bureau

U.S. Census Bureau: World Population "Clock"

U.S. Census Bureau: World Population Past and Future

United Nations: Social Indicators

United Nations: Income and Economic Activity Indicators

United Nations Population Information Network

US Economic Indicators (including Sales Figures, Gross Domestic Product, Corporate Profits and Other Statistics)

The National Debt

Bureau of Economic Analysis, US Dept of Commerce

US Budget

Federal Reserve, US Flow of Funds Accounts

World Military Expenditures and Arms Transfers



1) Journal of Personal Reflection (50%)
Students will be required to keep a written journal responding in personal, original, reflective and analytical ways to the readings and lectures. At least one typewritten, double-spaced page (250-300 words) is required for each week of the semester (notice the one page is only a minimum). Students can determine the specific focus of each journal entry. The writing must be done AFTER the material is discussed in class and should strive to offer fresh insight and analysis, applying and constructively expanding on what is done in class. Merely repeating or paraphrasing the readings or lectures does not constitute a proper journal entry. Notice that details of the readings which are nor explicitly discussed in class constitute ideal material for journal writing since they afford opportunities for original commentary and application of the principles learned. The journal will be graded primarily according to the student's understanding of the ideas developed in the course and capacity to employ those ideas in original analysis of relevant aspects of the course's materials and subject matter. In addition to the entries related to the week's discussions, the instructor will specify a number of other required topics which students must also address as journal entries (see schedule below for additional required journal topics). By the end of the semester the journal must be no less than 25 pages in length. All journals must be typed, double-spaced and submitted electronically by the deadlines specified in the schedule (submit as email attachments to fajardo@creighton.edu, acceptable file formats include Microsoft Word .doc, Rich Text Format .rtf, or Plain Text .txt) .

2) Term Project and Presentation (25%)
All students will be required to complete and present a term project. This may be an original paper or other work of a creative, analytical and/or research character (poetry, fiction, painting, drawing, music, sculpture, collage, website, photography, film, documentary, dance, performance piece, etc.). Written works are expected to be about 5-10 pages in length. ALL PROJECTS MUST IN SOME WAY INCORPORATE PERSONAL INSIGHT AND REFLECTION ON SOME ASPECT OF THE COURSE CONTENTS AS WELL AS OBJECTIVE RESEARCH AND ANALYTICAL TREATMENT OF SOME ASPECT OF COMMERCIAL LIFE. All work must be clearly relevant and related to the class materials and must be created during and for the specific purposes of the course. Students will make a 5-minute in-class presentation describing and/or performing their projects (see Schedule below). All projects must be approved by the instructor in advance (see Schedule below). Students choosing to write a formal paper must follow MLA, APA, Chicago or the guidelines provided by the instructor. For further information on the writing and grading of essays see Grading Standards and Procedures, and Grading of Essays and Other Written Work.

3) Participation and Other Performance (25%)
In addition to other grades, the instructor will assess and grade each student's overall accomplishment, development, and involvement in the course. This grade will take into account aspects of a student's performance such as class participation, preparation, contributions, effort, attentiveness, interest, improvement, responsibility, etc.

4) Other Policies

Make-ups/extensions for a missed deadline will only be given in cases of documented serious illness, family emergency, or other valid, non-frivolous excuse such as documented participation in official University academic, service or sports events (it will be up to the instructor to determine and decide on the acceptability of an excuse). Otherwise, students must meet all deadlines specified in the syllabus.

Academic Honesty and Class Conduct Policy
All students in the class are expected to observe the University's guidelines on student conduct as described in the Code of Conduct and Creighton University's Student Handbook (especially the section on "Academic Honesty Policy" dealing with problems of plagiarism, cheating, etc.). All work turned in for credit in this course must be personal and original, produced during the course of the semester and for the specific purposes and according to the guidelines of the given assignments. Any misrepresentations, concealments, or distortions of source, origin, collaboration or authorship of such materials will be considered forms of academic dishonesty and will result in failing the given assignment or, at the discretion of the instructor, the entire course. Problems such as repeated lateness arriving to class (or departing early), inatentiveness, or disruptive behavior of any kind may adversely affect attendance, the class participation grade, and may also result, at the discretion of the instructor,in more severe penalties, including failing the entire course.

Attendance Policy
An attendance measurement will be calculated equal to the percentage of total class time attended. The course grade may not exceed that percentage (i.e. if a student attended only 75% of the total class time, the course grade may not be higher than 75 or C). Notice also that, at the discretion of the instructor, any student missing more than 30% of the total class time may fail the course.

Email Communication
The University considers a student's Creighton email address the official means of communication with faculty and administrators. All students are responsible for checking their email messages as they might contain important and time-sensitive information relevant to the course, including notifications on changes to reading and other assignments, deadlines, class cancellations or reschedulings, etc. A student who prefers to receive email at a different address must inform the instructor.

All aspects of the course will be graded on a 100-point scale where 90-100 = A, 87-89 = B+, 80-86 = B, 77-79 = C+, 70-76 = C, 60-69 = D, and 0-59 = F. For details of the criteria used to establish grades see: Grading Standards and Procedures, and Grading of Essays and Other Written Work. At the discretion of the instructor, a normative curve may be applied to the grades at the end of the term. Course grades will be calculated according to the following formula:

Journal of Personal Reflection 50%
Term Project and Presentation 25%

Participation and Other Performance







In the online version of the syllabus you may click on selected individual subjects for study questions (whenever available). These questions will guide class discussions and can also motivate your journal writing. All reading must be completed BEFORE the day when it is scheduled for discussion. The journal writing should be done AFTER each weekly class session and should address some aspect of the readings or discussions for that week.


Tue Jan 17

Tue Jan 24

Tue Jan 31

Tue Feb 07

Tue Feb 14

Tue Feb 21

Tue Feb 28

Tue Mar 07

Tue Mar 14

Tue Mar 21

Tue Mar 28

Tue Apr 04

Tue Apr 11

Tue Apr 18

Tue Apr 25

Tue May 02

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Last updated: 05/01/2006